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Surviving the Season: Drafting, Trading and Leveling Up

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I’ve spent most of the week watching the Corbin’s Brainchild the Prediction Tracker come to fruition, and wow, this thing is an amazing resource. Chris has done some amazing work to get this spreadsheet prepared, and the whole QuietSpeculation team is committed to making it as valuable to you, the subscribers, as possible. This comes at a very appropriate time for me. I started drafting a couple years ago now, and slowly through trading have leveraged that into a fairly complete Standard collection, as well as enough extras to fill a binder and able to continuously trade. Lately, my binder has gotten to be a bit too full. This is typically not a problem as I keep a longbox of extras to restock with when needed or let people peruse if they have something I particularly want. I’ve decided I have too much of my inventory tied up in Standard and am ready to start diversifying my trade stock, as well as level up my personal collection into a higher class. Ultimately, my goal has always been to allow my gaming and trading to make up all of my hobby costs, and if I have any desire to play Legacy in the future, I’ll need to start stashing some staples when possible.

Gerry Thompson and Drew Levin recently put up solid finishes with, and have been writing about, a U/W Landstill deck that fits my playstyle perfectly. The only expensive cards in the deck are Legacy Staples that aren’t risky investments. My plan is to convert as much of my Standard Stock as possible into this deck. Along the way, I expect I’ll be trading for other Legacy staples as some of the holders of the best Legacy trades won’t be interested in my Standard cards. I’ll be including updates to the progress of this along the way each week.

This week I conducted my first two trades in this project. One such trade was a small one, I traded a Hero of Oxid Ridge and a Mental Misstep for a Crucible of Worlds. I feel like I got lucky on this one for a number of reasons. Primarily, I don’t expect either card I gave up to hold the value it currently has, and because I think my trade partner undervalued his Crucible of Worlds. The second trade I made was much more sizable, and I learned a lesson in the process. A player at our LGS told me he was getting out of Legacy, and preparing for Standard rotation. He mentioned he had two Tundras for trade, so we sat down to deal. As we started, I told him I valued Revised Tundras around $70. This was my first mistake, and one I’ll never make again. I was lucky it didn’t end up costing me. He started flipping through my binder, and ultimately we agreed on what I was giving up as fair for two Tundras. I feel like I gained a ton of value on this trade because he included a pile of bulk rares at $.50-1 each and some random foils that he over valued, like Arc Trail. I did have to include some decent cards like a Sword of Feast and Famine, Sword of Body and Mind, and Sword of War and Peace, as well as a Karn Liberated. Very happy with my trade, I reach across for my two Tundras, and notice that one of them is Moderately Played, while the other is EX-NM. This being said, I’m still very happy with my trade, so I didn’t say anything, and slid them into my binder, but this could have been a much uglier situation. I should have never agreed to a value on these Tundras until I inspected their condition much closer. This is my first lesson in trading into Legacy cards: be sure to check the condition at the beginning of the trade. At that point, it would have been hard for me to re-negotiate based on condition, but early on I could have started at a lower number, and perhaps kept the Sword of Body and Mind in my binder. Dealing in Limited and Standard, I don’t get too much exposure to the condition of cards affecting prices, but this shouldn’t have been a surprise for me. I just need to be more cognizant of it when I’m approaching a trade, especially with older cards.

Why bother trading into Legacy, if you’ve already been having success trading Standard Cards? First, I want to be able to enter a Legacy event when the need arises, without borrowing a deck. More importantly, though, is Legacy staples are the safest Magic stock to hold. Legacy staples don’t bounce all over the place like Standard and Extended cards do during PTQ season, and they are just about the best thing to draw attention to your trade binder. It guarantees you’ll always have something your trade partner wants, and be in a position of negotiating power when you have desirable staples.

Hopefully, by the time you hopped over to this article, you’ve also already seen the Prediction Tracker. I’ll be including a snippet each week about my inclusions on the tracker, and I look forward to input and criticism either in the comments here or in the forums.

I started by inputting some of the previous predictions I’ve made over the last few weeks, and also some sound advice about negotiating your way through the Summer. A card I’ve been trading for actively is Phyrexian Crusader. He’s right around $5, but could see a deck popping up where he can spike to as high as $8. He’s got a lot of raw power as a 3-drop, and some extremely relevant protection as well as a quick clock. I’ll be prepared to dump as many of these as I can once it does pick up a bit. Also, in my drafts, I’ve been starting to collect Despise. Even if I don’t pick it myself, I’ll find out who did, and try to trade for it. I made a killing off my Inquisition of Kozileks I did this with last year during ROE drafts. I can easily see Despise fitting this mold next year during PTQ season. This tracker is a way for you to see everyone’s input at a glance, make your own judgment, and trade/buy/sell accordingly. Some may use it as a cheat sheet, while some a starting point. In the end, Corbin’s idea is fantastic, and the work behind the scenes to get this going has been great to watch. I personally applaud both Corbin and Chris, as well as the rest of the writers who pitched in to make this happen. I’m excited to see where this goes, and hear questions and suggestions about how to include information in my article to compliment what’s happening in the tracker.

4 thoughts on “Surviving the Season: Drafting, Trading and Leveling Up

  1. I disagree with your trade for Tundras at $70. Now, considering the SCG Legacy Bubble, $70 is incredibly low value for Tundras, almost regardless of condition. Seeing as how you are looking for cards to play with and not trade, this is incredibly favorable for you. Also, trading volatile standard cards for stable legacy cards is almost always value in the long term.
    An example I have is I traded a Sword of Feast and Famine (or War and Peace, can't remember) for a Flooded Strand. Either sword is very good, but will obviously cool down in value after Stoneforge rotates, while Flooded Strand will be ~$20 as long as Legacy is still a format.

    tl;dr
    Trading for legacy stuff with standard stuff, even at a premium, is always value.

  2. Great article, and I've been trying to get into Legacy as well.
    As for the prediction tracker, it's ready to go, but Google is experiencing some issues. I don't want to launch with the possibility of Google Docs going down and killing the spreadsheet in the middle of the article, so as soon as we get that work out it's going up!

  3. @yesterd4y Thanks for the comment, I'm confident I did fine on that trade too, but it was cetainly an eye opener when i pulled the first Tundra out of the sleeve and the back was somewhat worn. The second one was excellent. I was more just appalled with myself I assigned values to those cards without inspecting them more than him just setting two sleeved Tundras on the table across from me. It was a good lesson to learn, in a harmless situation.

    @Mr.C That's a really good line. I'll beusing that. Thanks.

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